It was a Sunday…

Written by Meena Agarwal on July 24th, 2006 | 27 Comments


Chiclli Chicken with Steamed rice

It was a Sunday…

… not like any Sunday!

We were tired (from a really late Saturday night), a bit lethargic, and the pouring rain outside didn’t help liven up our spirits.

While Hubby Dear and me love to keep our Sundays free of any commitments, there are times when we wished we were doing something adventurous, really adventurous. Even if it concerns our palates.

I’ve always talked about my love and appreciation for Indo-Chinese fision cuisine, so much so that even dear Barbara decided to name a slightly influenced creation of hers after me. While we craved for the spicy goodness that it offers on this rainy droopy day, we were in no mood to drive through the bad weather to get a bite. No matter how strong a craving, I always feel that there must be a solution to it. And on this day, I found it in my kitchen.

Not one to be let down by the weather, I decided to brave the challenge and attempt to create my very own versions of our favourite Indo-Chinese spicy fare. Aah, I could already taste the flavours. Simple enough, I thought. And boy was I right! Don’t believe me? Well then, you’ll just have to try it out then!

CHILLI CHICKEN


Prep time: 10 min, Cooking time: 15 min | Serves: 4    

  • 2-3 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 medium-sized onion, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 2-3 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp green onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  •  
  • 1 tbsp corn starch mixed with 3 tbsp water
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp crushed black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • HEAT oil in a non-stick pan and saute chopped green chillies, ginger and garlic till fragrant. Add chopped onions and fry till lightly brown.

    ADD chicken pieces, and stir-fry till chicken gets cooked.

    ADD salt, pepper, chili powder and soya sauce and cook for a minute. Add water and allow to come to a boil.

    ADD corn starch mixture and stir till sauce thickens. Cover cook for 2-3 minutes, and garnish with chopped green onions.

    Serve over warm steaned rice. Need to warn you though, eat with caution, for this can be very, very spicy!



    A Culinary Journey to West Bengal, India

    Written by Meena Agarwal on July 19th, 2006 | 12 Comments


    Baingan Fry (Fried Eggplant)

    A Culinary Journey to West Bengal, India

    During my college years, when I was in Bangalore, I spent sometime living with a very close friend of mine. She, being a Bengali, and being how Bengalis are about their culture, food and language, taught me a lot of what I know today about the state of West Bengal. Needless to say, one of the first few words I learnt from her in Bengali, could easily see me through any uninvited mishaps. Yes, like most of us, when asked to learn a language, I too wanted to know the big “bad” words.

    Besides its language, West Bengal is widely known for its league of extra-ordinary artists. From admirable writers like Rabindranath Tagore, to talented movie-makers like Satyajit Ray, Bengalis have dominated every field from music, dance, cinema, and not to mention, sports.

    With an abundance of culture in its offering, Bengal is not one to be left behind in its food. From their humbly delicious vegetables, to their mouth watering fish dishes, and their sweet tasting desserts, Bengal hosts a treat for any adventurous palate.

    As I continue on my Culinary Journey to the whole of the Indian sub-continent, let me take a break in this wonderfully diverse state, to bring to you one of my personal favourites. A melt-in-your-mouth dish of eggplant slices smeared with spicy tangy spices, to tantalize the taste buds.

    FRIED EGGPLANT


    Prep time: 10 min, Cooking time: 30 min | Serves: 4 

  • 2-3 medium-sized eggplants
  • 2-3 tbsp light cooking oil
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  •  
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp amchoor powder
  • salt, to taste
  • CUT eggplant into slices and let soak in cold water for 15-20 minutes. Pat dry and set aside.

    MIX all dry spices, including salt, to form a spice mix.

    HEAT oil in a pan and place eggplant slices without overlapping with each other.

    LET eggplant fry on one side for 3-4 minutes on medium-high heat. Flip once, sprinkle each slice with spice mix, and let it cook on the other side.

    FLIP slices once more, sprinkle spice mix and remove onto a plate.

    Serve with steamed rice over Dal, with a side of Tomato Chutney, to relish a simple, yet wholesome Bengali meal.



    Hopping on the Bar-B’!

    Written by Meena Agarwal on July 17th, 2006 | 7 Comments


    Spicy Lamb Burgers

    Hopping on the Bar-B’!

    No matter how much it rains day in and day out, I can’t help but smile that we are still enjoying some pleasantly warm weather. Living in a city where it snows and is extremely, unbearably cold almost half of the year, one can’t help but smile when there is no “white” in sight!

    Ever since hubby dear invested on a great BBQ grill last fall, we have been basking in its glory. I can’t even begin to count how many times we’ve gotten outside and enjoyed our dinners fresh off the grill. He even treated me to a lovely BBQ surprise B’day last month, which was just perfect.

    While most times we love having friends and family over for deliciously grilled dinners, we love to indulge ourselves with some quality “together-time”, just the two of us, by the fire. We’ve had some yummy taco/fajita nites, evenings filled with kababs and spicy tikkas, and even the not-so-usual-but-surprisingly-delicious grilled pitas with hummus! But one of our personal favourites just has to be our big burger nights. Delicoiusly thick and juicy lamb burgers, sandwiched between toasted buns and topped with your choice of veggies. Sounds goo? Then what are you waiting for? Hop on and let’s get grillin’!!

    SPICY LAMB BURGERS


    Prep time: 20 min, Cooking time: 20 min | Makes: 6-8 medium-sized burgers    

  • 1 lb lean ground lamb (could easily be substituted with chicken or beef)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 2-3 green chillies, finely chopped
  •  
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp light cooking oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • MIX all ingredients in a large bowl to incorporate well.

    FORM into patties and grill till done on both sides.

    RECIPE NOTES: To grill in an indoor oven, heat oven to 375 degrees and grill for 20-25 minutes till done, turning once in between.

    Enoy over toasted buns, topped with your favourite choice of toppings!



    Perfectly Simple…

    Written by Meena Agarwal on July 9th, 2006 | 10 Comments


    Sukhe Alu (Sauteed Potatoes)

    Perfectly Simple

    Most days, by the time I get home in the evenings, I am strved and craving for warm home-cooked meal. And most often than not, I am too tired to dish out something wholesome.

    Since hubby dear has been out of town since the past two weeks, I’ve found myself spending much less time in my kitchen. The reason being when I’m alone, I couldn’t care much about how, when and even if I eat. I can be just as happy opening up a pack of instant noodles or having a grilled cheese sandwich.

    But last night, after many days of eating left-over and processed foods, I was craving for a good home-cooked meal. Something wholesome, fulfilling and delicious. And not to mention, quick! Oh yes, it just had to be quick. I was tired and hungry. And no one messes with me when either the one. Not even Mr. Time!

    As I set a pot of my favourite Dal to cook alongside some steaming rice, I thought of making a real quick side. No guesses as to what it would be made of. I walked into my pantry and found them – a nice big bowl of red baby potatoes!

    Potatoes are one of the staples of the classic Indian meal. It is also the most versatile and beautiful vegetables I know. I let a batch of them boil just till tender and the stage was then set for a wonderfully delicious and fulfilling dinners!

    SUKHE ALU
    SAUTEED POTATOES


    Prep time: 20 min, Cooking time: 10 min | Serves: 2  

  • 8-10 red baby potatoes, boiled and peeled
  • 2-3 dried red chillies
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp aniseeds
  •  
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp light cooking oil
  • CUT boiled potatoes into quarters and set aside.

    HEAT oil in a pan and add dried red chillies, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and aniseeds, and fry till they start to sizzle.

    ADD in red chili powder and potatoes, and stri-fry till spices mix well with potatoes.

    ADD salt and cover cook for five minutes.

    SERVE warm as a side with Dal, and rice or Rotis.